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tv   Second Look  FOX  August 21, 2011 11:00pm-11:30pm PDT

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the 1920s a time when you could find the ku klux klan walking through the streets of l.a., and a race to see who could be the first to fly from
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the mainland to hawaii. all those stories coming up tonight on a second look. good evening i'm julie haener and this is a second look. when you think of the ku klux klan you think of a rural area in the deep south. but there was a time when the kukluxklan was here in the bay area. >> reporter: the date was may 5, 1962, mask men gathered to participate in a ritual like this one. the knights of the ku klux klan were spreading. a reporter under the strict rules of the klan was allowed to attend.
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he described the scene as quote an almost terrifying human aisle of white. who were these masked men swearing allegiance to hate. chris rombers says the list of kkk members in the 20s might surprise you. >> members that we've been able to identify in oakland included people like professionals, managers, small businessmen, sales men, skilled craft workers, members of the oakland fire departments. even the son of a congressman. >> reporter: cross burnings were common. albany hills was a spot favored by the klan as is grizzly peak. in the 1920s these east bay hills were alive with the symbol of hate. cross burning so bright that witnesses said you could see them from pinol to berkeley. one of the largest public displays of power of the klan was at a parade down mcdonald
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street in downtown richmond. it was the fourth of july 1924. oakland had refused to allow the march, so the klan was invited to participate in the independence day festivities in richmond. an 8-year-old black boy walter freeman jr. was astounded to see just who wore the white robes. he told his story to author jones. >> here is a young boy who was stunned by the way they were welcome into the general celebration. he said, i knew who these people were. and my family worked with half the people. he knew who they were. >> reporter: the rise of the klan in oakland in the 1920s took place at a time of discrimination. the united states closed its doors to immigrants. in california the klan opposed not only asians and african americans but catholics, jews, irish, italians and eastern europeans as well.
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all part of the working class oakland then. >> it's a hidden history. i think it's the kind of pr that california has wrapped itself in. this was a state of freedom, we all get along here. but then, jim crow didn't follow people. it was here alive and well. >> reporter: new housing developments in the oakland hills boasted restrictive covenants, they finally told buyers that no one of any mongolian decent would be allowed to purchase, live at a home accept as a worker.
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the klan peaked with the member of alameda sheriff. to this day his picture hangs in the sheriff's office. becker ran in an anti corruption platform but along with his crony, the commissioner of streets, beck -r becker became one of the most corrupt politicians in bay area history. >> he arrested those smaller distributers in order to centralize distribute in one point so they could get pay offs from the bootlegging industry. >> reporter: the power of becker and his klan was finally broken. it happened in a trial prosecuted by the new district attorney. the young d.a. who later went on to become chief justice put becker and many of his cohearts into san quentin prison: but it was a long ugly fight. warren's family was threatened and warren was so worried that
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klans men would not indict his brethren that he made the trial public. some of the most prominent were in san quentin, the rest fought over klan assets in court, until it all disappeared. tens of thousands of klan members marched down pennsylvania avenue. the parade included thousands of california klans men. to this day, small pockets of white supremacy remain in the bay area but the klan never again reached the height that it did in the 1920s in oakland. >> former alameda county d.a. and later chief justice of the united states earl warren also played a part in another account of that era. it is the story of two brothers who never knew their father or the circumstances of how he died. but recently they found out he died a hero fighting
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bootleggers while working under the authority of d.a. warren. here is bob mackenzie's report from may of this year. >> for a guy who grew up in poverty, edward memola has done all right for himself. happily married for 60 years. retired after a career as a truck mechanic. he has a house he bought for $11,000 and a car he restored for about twice that much. but something has bothered ed memola all his life. he and his brother has known nothing about his father because he died when they were young. their mother raised him but she never spoke about their father. >> she was scared that the mafia was going to come and get her sons. >> reporter: as the department
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historian, nelson has ran across the story of joseph memola a policeman killed on the job in 1927. and a few weeks ago, nelson and the memolas went to alan rock cemetery in san jose and walked to the grave of joseph mamola, ed's father. the story sergeant nelson told them was this. joseph memola was a constable, and elected police official in richmond in the days of prohibition. these were the days of speak easies. federal authorities conducted an all out war on the mobsters recruiting thousands of state agencies to destroy the saloons. joining in the war was earl warren. who would one day become chief justice of the supreme court. warren also enlisted
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trustworthy young officers including joseph memola. the team raided a house in oakland used by bootleggers. in revenge, four bootleggers ambushed constable mamola, beat him and shot him with his own gun. now edward knows who his father was. an honest cop who did his job and who died trying to fight off four thugs. >> it was a blessing when he came down here. because i learned the truth about the whole story. >> it's nice when you get something like this when you get a nice ending. you get a factual ending where you've taken it full circle. and when they, when the mamola's were able to go to sacramento and see their father engraved on the state memorial that will be very rewarding to me. >> so after all these year, ed mamola found out his father's story. and sergeant nelson could finally close the books on this one.
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still to come on a second look, flying to hawaii is routine today. but we'll tell you about a time less than a century ago when it was a daring and even deadly endeavor. but first we visit a water project that transformed the bay area and a valley that some call yosemite's twin.
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that's the power of german engineering. hurry in and lease the jetta s for just $179 a month. ♪ visit vwdealer.com today. in 1923 new celebrations were held. a project would promise to deliver all the water the thirsty city of san francisco might recover. hechhechi reservoir. in 2005 at the time of one of those moves, rob roth outlined the strong feelings on both sides of the issue. >> reporter: here inside yosemite national park a place that just might have a monopoly
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on beauty sits much of the bay area's water supply. the hechheci reservoir. but what if this once looked like this. and returned what it looked like before. that is what some folks say could happen but should happen. >> a peaceful serene valley floor. >> reporter: if the san francisco public utilities commission which manages the city's water system those are fighting words. >> it's a bad idea. it's a bad idea. >> reporter: the bad or good idea depending on your perspective enstaling removing or punching a hole in the dam and slowly draining the 117 million-gallons of water from the reservoir. and over time perhaps a decade or more. the valley would return to the
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way it looked before 1914. when michael ohanessey became building the dam before 100 feet of water covered the valley floor. >> the reservoir flooded one of our natural valleys. they can't see the floor of the valley, the rivers, they have no acce to it. >> reporter: but some argue it looks pretty nice the way it is so why go through all the trouble to change it. >> they built this elegant system to bring this water 116,000 miles. it dismantles that system so then you would have to redo the whole system. you would have to build big pumps, big filtration systems. >> reporter: they point to research and an environmental defense that claims that the water system would not be
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harmed. the water stored would go to other reservoirs which would need to be enlarged. that and increased use of ground water would make up for 90% of the water, the rest could be purchased if needed. >> we would have to go into the delta then fight with our neighbors from southern california for that water. >> reporter: opponents take issue with almost every aspect of the plan. the cost could run into the billions of the dollars. many billions. and there's the issue of water purity. the water is so clean it doesn't need filtering. but water under the new proposal would. the clean hydropower generated by the dam could be replaced downstream they argue. >> this is not legos here.
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this is an intricate, delicate system. >> how might it affect reliability, water quality and costs. there are a lot of unanswered questions. the possibility that these companies and drinkers are going to go from having the purest water to the impurist is really concerning and something -- then we get to pay for that billions of the dollars. that just doesn't make sense to us. >> if you live in san francisco, you turn on the tap you're not going to know the difference. if you go to yosemite national park you will notice the difference when you go to hechhechie and you see a valley not a reservoir. we'll tell you about another controversial water project built not with human hands. but first the race to reach hawaii by air and t
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almost 75 years ago the oakland airport was the starting point for a daring race across the pacific. the goal, be the first private aviator to fly nonstop from the u.s. mainland to hawaii. but as it turned out the race was a disaster. here is bob mackenzie's report from 2001. >> on the morning of august 16th 1927, the eyes of the world were focused on the tiny oakland airport. then located on farm island where 15 men and a young woman tuned up their rickety airplanes for a flight they thought would make them rich and famous. the company had offered $15,000 for the first pilot who would fly from oakland to hawaii. charles lindburg had just made
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his flight from new york to paris and became the most famous man in the world. it was one thing to find europe, all lindburg had to do was keep flying east. and to find hawaii, a pilot would have to fly and search for the tiny island. >> it must have occurred to the sponsors, the press, all the people who should have said wait a minute, that this could develop into a real catastrophe. why didn't somebody say wait a minute, this is not good idea. >> there were probably people who said that. it is not a good idea. it's never going to happen, and you had the people who were out to prove them wrong. >> reporter: things started to go wrong before the race
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started. first the glory was snatched away who took a big military mono plane who made the trip to oahu. they weren't eligible for the competition. well there was still the prize money. but then the deaths began. two contestants flying up to oakland from san diego to enter the race flew into a low fog and slam into an ocean cliff. both young men died. then arthur rogers a 29-year- old hero of world war ii took his plane up, stalled an engine and plunged to the ground. his wife watched him crash and die. on august 11, the pride of los angeles flew in for the race and on approaching the oakland field fell into the bay 100 feet offshore. the plane was totaled. the pilot and navigator were
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unhurt but out of the race, probably fortunately for them. the field had narrowed with eight planes. the public had fell in love with the only female in the race. she flew the el doran to be flown by pinole. bad luck struck one wobbly little plane after another. the encanto swerved over to its right wing. the pilots crawled out unhurt but their plane was unfinished. three other planes took off but were back within minutes. only four airplanes made it into the skies and headed for the pacific. the aloha, the willerock, mr. anne and the golden eagle. two of those planes would never be seen again. 26 hours and 17 minutes after taking off, the wilerock landed
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in hawaii to a welcoming crowd. navigator william davis had won the 12,000. moments later the aloha arrived. they shared the second prize. the pain handed out the checks. but the golden eagle and the mrs. doran did not appear. pretty mildred doran was missing along with her crew. two more young fliers took off from oakland vowing to look for the lost planes. they too would never be seen again. all together 10 people died in the dole race. a massacre by any account. when we come back to a second look, it's a water
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project that sparked a controversy in the east bay and the builders are beavers. !
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an ambitious engineers and construction project last may in martinez created quite a controversy. some city officials wanted the project torn down but in residents wanted to keep it. that's because the project was a dam. and the builder was a beaver. ktvu's bob mackenzie explains. >> reporter: alhambr a creek would normally be down to a trickle this time of year. but now it's 10 feet deep in places. that's because one of the world's great engineers has built a dam across the creek. the engineer is of course a beaver who constructed his four foot high dam of two down saplings, twigs and mud. and about a block higher up
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scream is the beaver's lodge. the beaver's projects are drawing admirers including some in the construction business. >> there was an inspector who thought it was incompliance. >> so they're building up to code. >> i think so. it looks solid to me. and i'm a contractor. >> reporter: the beavers stay out of sight during the day but local folks have caught sight of them in the early morning and late evening. they probably look about like these beavers filmed in the rocky mountains. they're forever busy building and repairing and rebuilding. they build dams to create deep water so they can enter their lodges below the water line. that way they can't be followed in by raccoons and other predators. martinez city officials have expressed an intention to tear out the dam, fearing that rains could cause the high water to overflow the banks. but so many people spoke up for the beavers that the city is
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proceeding cautiously. >> we're working with the fish and game right now to decide what to do. >> reporter: dan murphy owns bertola's restaurant right next to the beaver's dam. he's in favor of leaving the critters alone. >> he hasn't done anything to me. the waters came and it knocked the dam down. it took him a day or two but he fixed it back up. >> reporter: you heard it say of somebody that he or she works like a beaver, well you appreciate the meaning of the saying when you see the amount of labor that went into this project. apart from whatever public safety consideration there might be, it sure would seem a shame to destroy all this hard work. >> that's it for this week's second look. i'm julie haener, thank you for watching. okay, kids, we can record one more show.
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